The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, U Sobhana Mahathera, was one of the most eminent meditation masters of modern times and a leader in the contemporary resurgence of Vipassana meditation. Born near Shwebo town in Burma in 1904, he was ordained a novice monk at the age of twelve and received full ordination as a bhikkhu at the age of twenty. He quickly distinguished himself as a scholar of the Buddhist scriptures and by his fifth year after full ordination was himself teaching the scriptures at a monastery in Moulmein.
In the eighth year after ordination he left Moulmein seeking a clear and effective method in the practice of meditation. At Thaton he met the well-known meditation instructor, the Venerable U Narada, also known as the Mingun Jetawun Sayadaw. He then placed himself under the guidance of the Sayadaw and underwent intensive training in Vipassana meditation.
In 1941 he returned to his native village and introduced the systematic practice of Vipassana meditation to the area. Many people, monks as well as laymen, took up the practice and greatly benefited by his careful instructions.
In 1949 the then Prime Minister of Burma, U Nu, and Sir U Thwin, executive members of the Buddha Sasananuggaha Association, invited Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw to come to Rangoon to give training in meditation practice. He acceded to their request and took up residence at the Thathana Yeiktha Meditation Centre, where he continued to conduct intensive courses in Vipassana meditation until his death in 1982.
Under his guidance thousands of people have been trained at his Centre and many more have benefited from his clear-cut approach to meditation practice through his writings and the teachings of his disciples. More than a hundred branch centers of the Thathana Yeiktha Centre have been established in Burma and his method has spread widely to other countries, East and West.
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw also holds Burma`s highest scholastic honor, the title of Agga Mahapandita, awarded to him in 1952. During the Sixth Buddhist Council, held in Rangoon from 1954 to 1956, he performed the duties of Questioner (pucchaka), a role performed at the First Buddhist Council by the Venerable Mahakassapa. Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw was also a member of the executive committee that was responsible, as the final authority, for the codification of all the texts edited at the Council.
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw is the author of numerous works on both meditation and the Buddhist scriptures in his native Burmese. His discourses on Buddhist suttas have been translated into English and are published by the Buddha Sasananuggaha Association (16 Hermitage Road, Kokine, Rangoon, Burma.)

Late Mahasi Sayadaw